GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The Adirondack Thunder had not been able to put together three consecutive victories at all this season. There were several two-game win streaks, but the team just could not get that elusive third win. 45 games into the season, the Thunder were finally able to put together a three-game win streak. And they did it in a big way, scoring a total of 17 goals in those three games.
The streak began just before the All-Star break, with a 5-0 rout of the Worcester Railers. The Thunder returned from the break Friday with a big 5-3 victory over a strong Brampton team, and followed it with another win against the Beast Saturday night.
For the second consecutive night, the Beast got on the board first, this time only 33 seconds into the game. Matt McLeod skated into the Thunder zone untouched and backhanded the puck past goaltender Eamon McAdam.
Similar defensive lapses have plagued the Thunder all season, and more often than not, the team didn’t make a comeback. But like they did the night before, the Thunder did recover with a goal of their own to tie it up.
Beast netminder Alex Dubeau came out of his net to make a save on a shot from Mike Szmatula, but couldn’t make it back in time to stop Matt Salhany from poking it home.
The Thunder took the lead just under twelve minutes into the game when Casey Pierro-Zabotel put the puck off the back side of Dubeau and into the net.
Brampton tied it back up only 24 seconds later on a goal from David Pacan, and the game began to take on a sense of déjà vu. Friday’s contest also featured some rapid first period goals exchanged between the two teams (five goals in a span of 3:09).
Another quick goal from the Thunder, 1:31 later, and they had the lead. Rookie defenseman Charlie Curti picked up the goal, his second in as many nights.
Szmatula also picked up his second goal of the weekend later in the period, and the Thunder went into the intermission with a 4-2 lead (just like the previous night).
The Beast were able to make a bit of a comeback in the second period, with goals from TJ Melancon and Cameron Bakker. But the Thunder put a stop to that. Defenseman Jake Linhart‘s slapshot from the blue line was tipped in by rookie Ryan Walker for the eventual game-winner.
Salhany added another in the final frame, and Kelly Summers scored an empty-netter to seal the deal with a final score of 7-4.
McAdam picked up the win for Adirondack, his third straight victory as well.
The line of Salhany-Szmatula-John Edwardh has been reunited, and they are tearing it up once again. Edwardh had been with the Cincinnati Cyclones earlier this season, and made his return to Adirondack following a three-team trade earlier this month. During the win streak, the three skaters have combined for 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists).
Szmatula: “When We saw we were getting (Edwardh) back, me and Sal(hany) were both pumped. It’s like he never left. We’ve got chemistry together and love playing together, and it’s a lot of fun playing with him.”
Salhany: “We had a good stretch last year, us three together, so getting him back…it took us a game or two, but the chemistry is right back to where it was last year for sure.”
Szmatula has points in each of the last six games (three goals, seven assists) while Summers is riding a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists). Also on fire lately is Walker. He has a goal and three assists in the last three games.
The Thunder finish the three-game weekend in Worcester Sunday afternoon. Newcomer Sean Romeo will get the start in net for Adirondack. Head coach Alex Loh on the newest Thunder goaltender:
“Romeo is just a good player…he was really good at Ohio State, he was good in Maine, he’s just a good goalie. We were lucky to grab him, and we’re excited to see what he brings for us tomorrow (Sunday).”
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